Методика преподавания языка | Филологический аспект: Методика преподавания языка и литературы Методика преподавания языка и литературы №01 (24) Январь 2024 - Февраль 2024

УДК 372.881.1

Дата публикации 05.02.2024

Особенности преподавания юридической лексики будущим юристам на практических занятиях по английскому языку в университете

Скоробогатова Анна Сергеевна
Старший преподаватель кафедры Иностранные языки, Севастопольский государственный университет, РФ, г. Севастополь, asskorobogatova@sevsu.ru

Аннотация: Статья рассматривает особенности преподавания юридической лексики будущим юристам на практических занятиях по английскому языку в университете. Автор представляет данные эмпирических исследований, подтверждающие наличие проблем, связанных с изучением юридического языка. В статье предложены эффективные способы преподавания юридической лексики и даются рекомендации по преодолению языковых трудностей.
Ключевые слова: юридическая лексика, преподавание языка, английский язык, методы преподавания, университет.

Peculiarities of teaching legal vocabulary to future lawyers at practical English classes at the university

Skorobogatova Anna Sergeevna
Senior lecturer of Foreign languages department, Sevastopol State University, Russia, Sevastopol

Abstract: The article considers the peculiarities of teaching legal language to future lawyers at practical English classes at the university. The author presents the data of empirical research confirming the existence of issues related to the study of legalese. The article suggests effective ways of teaching legal English and gives some guidelines for overcoming language challenges.
Keywords: legalese, language teaching, methods of teaching, English language, university level.

Правильная ссылка на статью
Скоробогатова А.С. Peculiarities of teaching legal vocabulary to future lawyers at practical English classes at the university // Филологический аспект: международный научно-практический журнал. Сер.: Методика преподавания языка и литературы. 2024. № 01 (24). Режим доступа: https://scipress.ru/fam/articles/osobennosti-prepodavaniya-yuridicheskoj-leksiki-budushhim-yuristam-na-prakticheskikh-zanyatiyakh-po-anglijskomu-yazyku-v-universitete.html (Дата обращения: 05.02.2024)


Legal English is a specialized field of language instruction that presents unique challenges to both instructors and students. Empirical studies have been conducted to identify and understand the difficulties encountered in teaching legal English [6]. One common difficulty identified in empirical studies is the complexity and specificity of legal language [7]. Legal terminology and concepts can be highly technical and precise, making it challenging for students to comprehend and effectively communicate within the legal context. Instructors have found that students often struggle to grasp the nuances and intricacies of legal language, which can hinder their overall proficiency in legalese.
Another challenge identified in empirical studies is the cultural and contextual differences inherent in legal English [9]. Legal systems and practices vary across different jurisdictions, and students from diverse cultural backgrounds may find it difficult to understand the specific legal norms and conventions of English-speaking countries. This can create barriers to effective communication and comprehension for students learning legal English. Additionally, researches have highlighted the difficulty of teaching legal writing skills in English [8]. Legal writing requires students to master a unique set of conventions, structures, and formats that are distinct from other forms of academic or professional writing. Instructors have identified challenges in teaching students how to craft clear and persuasive legal documents, such as contracts, briefs, and legal opinions, in English [3]. Furthermore, empirical studies have demonstrated the challenges of integrating legal ethics and professional conduct into legal English instruction. Teaching students to understand and adhere to the ethical standards and professional responsibilities of legal practitioners in English-speaking jurisdictions can be particularly challenging, as it involves navigating complex and culturally specific ethical codes and professional norms.

Now let’s pay our attention to the phenomenon legalese. We suggest to define it as the language of law, characterized by its complex and often archaic terminology [1]. This specialized language is used by lawyers and legal professionals to communicate effectively within the legal system. The use of legalese is pervasive in legal documents, court proceedings, and professional discourse within the legal field. Understanding the peculiarities of legalese terminology is vital for lawyers and legal professionals to effectively navigate the legal landscape. This article aims to analyze the unique characteristics and terms of legalese, shedding light on its complexities and importance within the legal profession as well as to summarize some effective methods of teaching it at English classes.

One of the defining features of legalese is its extensive use of complex and specialized terminology. Legal documents and contracts are often filled with words and phrases that are not commonly used in everyday language. For example, terms like "estoppel," "prima facie," "res ipsa loquitur," and "pro hac vice" are frequently used in legal documents and court proceedings. These terms have specific legal meanings and are essential for conveying precise legal concepts. Understanding and interpreting these specialized terms are crucial for lawyers to effectively advocate for their clients and navigate the intricacies of the legal system.

Legalese is also characterized by its formal and often archaic language. The use of Latin phrases, such as "sui generis," "in forma pauperis," and "subpoena duces tecum," is commonplace in legal writing. This formal and archaic language adds a layer of complexity to legal documents and can be challenging for non-legal professionals to comprehend. However, for lawyers, the ability to understand and effectively use this formal language is essential for drafting legal documents, conducting legal research, and presenting arguments in court.

Another peculiarity of legalese is its emphasis on precision and specificity. Legal terminology is designed to convey precise meanings and to establish clear and unambiguous legal concepts. For example, the term "mens rea" refers to the mental state or intention of a person committing a crime, while "inchoate offense" describes an incomplete or unfinished criminal act. The use of such precise terminology is crucial for lawyers to construct legal arguments, interpret laws, and draft contracts with clarity and accuracy.

The use of legalese is crucial for the functioning of the legal profession. It enables lawyers to communicate effectively with each other, judges, and other legal professionals, ensuring that legal concepts and arguments are clearly understood and accurately conveyed. Moreover, the use of specialized legal terminology serves to maintain the consistency and coherence of legal documents and court proceedings. It also helps to create a sense of authority and professionalism within the legal field.

In our article we aim to highlight some effective methods and ways of teaching legalese. First of all, educators should start with the basics. They should begin by explaining the purpose and function of legalese, including the need for clarity and precision in legal documents. Also, it is extremely important to provide examples, show clear variants of legalese and then explain them in plain language. This will help students understand how legal concepts can be expressed in simpler terms. In order to help students get to know law language we recommend take complex legal terms and break them down into their component parts, explaining the meaning of each part along the way [2]. Moreover, we suggest using case studies to demonstrate how legalese is used in legal practice, and explain the significance of using precise language in legal documents [5]. One more important thing is practice, which means students’ practice translating legalese into plain language, and vice versa. This will help them gain confidence in understanding and using legalese. The sixth tip is to develop critical thinking. Educators must encourage students to critically analyze legal language and consider alternative ways of expressing the same ideas more clearly and simply. And the issue of a professional is to provide relevant resources such as legal dictionaries, plain language guides, and legal writing guides to help students further their understanding of legalese [4]. It should be mentioned that legalese is complex and can be difficult to master, so, we need to continuously reinforce concepts, provide regular opportunities for practice and reinforcement, and emphasize the importance of clarity stressing the importance of using clear and precise language in legal documents, and how it can impact the interpretation and enforceability of legal agreements.

But there is some kind of ambiguity in teaching legalese. And in this case, we could recommend some ways out. Firstly, use clear and concise language, avoid using complex or convoluted one when teaching legal concepts, stick to language that is simple and easy to understand. Secondly, provide real-life examples or case studies to illustrate legal concepts and how they apply in different situations. This can help students better understand the practical application of legalese. Thirdly, try visuals such as diagrams, flowcharts, or infographics to help explain complex legal processes or concepts in a more straightforward manner. Next recommendation is to encourage questions, create a supportive environment where students feel comfortable asking questions and seeking clarification on any points of confusion. This can help reduce ambiguity and ensure that students fully grasp the material. Also, we advise reviewing key concepts multiple times throughout the course to reinforce understanding and help reduce ambiguity.

Overall, the key to avoiding ambiguity in teaching legalese is to prioritize clear communication and understanding, and to make the material as accessible and relatable as possible for students.

In conclusion we should notice that teaching legalese is rather complicated but challenging both for educators and students. We believe that the methods of teaching legal English mentioned in this article can diversify the course of practical classes, increase students' motivation and improve the quality of education. We really hope that our recommendations will be useful and practically oriented for English language classes at universities.


Список литературы

1.Matt Firth and Sean Mahoney. Legal English: How to Understand and Master the Language of Law// 2021.
2.Brown, M. (2023). Integrating Legal Contexts into English Language Teaching: A Framework for Practice// ELT Journal, 2023. №75(3). pp. 325-338.
3.Carolyn Copeland and Nathan Edwards. Legal English: A Practical Guide for the International Lawyer// 2021.
4.Garcia, R. Teaching English for Legal Purposes: Best Practices and Future Directions// Journal of English for Academic Purposes. 2023. № 45, 112-125.
5.Johnson, A. Incorporating Legal Terminology into English Lessons: A Case Study //TESOL Journal. 2022. №12(4). pp. 45-58.
6.Judith N. Léger and Craig A. Ross. Teaching Legal English Communication Skills// Rupert Haigh, "Legal English". 2022.
7.Smith, J. Teaching Legal English: Challenges and Strategies// English Teaching Forum. 2021. № 59(2). pp.17-22.
8.Williams, K. Using Authentic Legal Materials to Teach English Vocabulary and Reading Skills// Language Teaching Research. 2023.№ 25(1). pp.89-102.

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